widows vs remarried widowed YWBB


Updated July 28, 2014: If you have followed the link provided by a widower on the YWBB in response to the most recent dust-up in the Social Situations forum, you need to know that I am NOT referring to E in the following post. In fact, at the time I wrote this post, E hadn’t been posting at the YWBB as E or under any other aka for some time (that I am aware of).

This post chronicles one of the periodic flame-fests that breaks out in the YWBB forums. Such incidents date all the way back to its earliest days and though they can be unsettling to newbies (and irritating to old hands) like all things, they pass.

The widows behaving badly I was discussing here have, as far as I know, moved on to other venues because there are a lot more of them now than there were back when I was first widowed in 2006 or when E was widowed several years before that.

The old timer culprit I reference was someone who took a lot of joy in harassing my husband and I after other board members learned of our relationship and engagement. She was good at playing the contrition game and so managed to kick a lot of shit before her bouncing in 2012, but as far as I can tell, she no longer posts at the YWBB.

I believe that in the thread where this link to my blog is found, a few other old-timers – who were veterans when I was though not friends of mine – have explained E’s history and how she was stalked and bullied in her early days at the YWBB. However, I don’t think they noted that the culprits were never punished or banned, and that not one of them has ever really apologized (again to my knowledge) to E for what they did to her.

I knew E as Elysia when I roamed the forums at YWBB. I found her to be eccentric and pointed, but she was one of the few who ever had my back when I was being hounded and I still appreciate that.

So, long story short – E is not the widow you are looking for. Move along.


Someone’s google search term landed them here a couple of days ago as he (or more likely “she”) scoured the virtual world for a “support forum for remarried widows”.  For her sake, I wish I could post a few links to help out, but the sad truth is that nothing much exists.  There are widow boards here, there and near everywhereWidow blogs ad nauseum.  But if you were widowed and have moved on to a new relationship or even marriage, it’s s.o.l. for you.

Most of the boards I have seen really are loathe to set up special forums for the those who’ve moved on. Partly it’s because they want to discourage the popular notion that one can’t really say they’ve moved on until they’ve hooked up again, but the bigger reason is that many of those widowed, who either haven’t found a new mate or have no interest in doing so, are vicious to the point of bat shit crazy about remarried widows.  Despite lip service to the contrary, even widowed believe that falling in love again and remarrying is some sort of magical healing that erases the painful memories and renders a remarried widow immune to the occasional sad thought or longing.  In some ways, widowed can be just as clueless as those who have never been.

Some remarried widowed folk hide or downplay their new marital status so they can remain part of the online widowed communities.  More often they simply walk away and deal quietly and alone with issues as they come up.  And mostly it’s women.  We make up the majority of those widowed anyway but, regardless, I think it is harder for women to not have the outlet because we are socialized from an early age to seek out and share with those who are like us.  Single.  Married.  Widowed.  Mothers.  Etcetera.  Etcetera.  We do this for company but also to try to determine if we are “normal” or what we are feeling or experiencing falls within the boundaries of most other people’s experiences.

I argued myself blue with this and that board admin on the very real needs that widowed who have remarried have but to no avail.  It’s a small subset and in the interest of not stirring up the majorities who populate these online communities, the admins chose the path of least effort and headache*.

Still, I see a lot of searches for this type of support and wish I had more to offer in terms of information or advice.

Oh, surely, it can’t be that bad?

Recently, my search log lit up with hits for Ye Olde Widda Board, and after a couple of days of this I was curious enough to click over and check out the latest flaming shit storm.  I have to chuckle a bit when these wars erupt because older widowed members will drag out the same tired excuses and nearly all will lie through their keyboards with some variation on “Oh, these things come and go. No hurt/no foul.”  Which is total bullshit.  The YWBB is one of the foulest of the widow boards.  The nasty threads actually pale in comparison to the hateful private messages some members heap upon remarrieds, early daters and anyone who disagrees with the prevailing notions about grief being a catch-all get out of jail free card.  How anyone can defend the shit-slinging that goes on there still amazes me, but the chief reason it occurs is that the board itself has no moderator and the board admins lack the moral fiber to delete hateful threads or members.

Until this latest flare-up, I can’t recall anyone ever being chastised, much less banned, but two members were blocked after last week’s dust-up. Only one of them really deserved it.  A long time member who is a rabid dog about moving on and should have been punted years ago.  I have no doubt she will end up on another site.  She needs them in order to hang onto the turmoil and ache of early grief.  She’s a vampire really, using newly widowed’s to stoke her own hurt and rage.  I pity the community she lands in next.

But the YWBB’s expense lesson is just one of the examples of why widowed who remarry can’t really avail themselves of existing forums.  They just don’t quite fit in.

As you move on, it’s not grief in any way the books mention.  It’s nuanced and muted and separate from life as it’s being lived.

People who marry widowed like to believe that it’s still grief but just not as often and that it will eventually cease to be completely.  A nice fantasy, but ridiculous.  Widowed who’ve remarried even like to feed that delusion with nonsense that as you move on, you put your late spouse in a non-romantic love context that stems from mutual off-spring or just the general sadness we all feel from time to time about lost loved ones.

The reality is harder to explain.  My late husband holds a part of me that is lost forever – to me or to anyone else.  I seldom think of him only in terms of his sperm donation.  When he pops up, it’s always in a context that is his alone, and while I can’t say that what I feel is missing or longing, I can say that he will always be a part of me in a way that transcends the child we had together.  He doesn’t vanish.  He hasn’t given up his place as my husband**, and he will always be significant in a way that is his alone.

If you are a widowed who has remarried and finds yourself reading this, know that you are not alone.  Others have walked with dual life path and we’ve struggled with those who don’t get it or want to marginalize the effort that goes into blending families and dealing with the unexpected issues that come up.  Know that you’ll be okay.  It’s normal to move on.  It’s normal to want to love again.  It’s not abnormal to love again as fully and as deeply.  It’s not a betrayal to love two people.  It’s okay to insist that extended family, old friends and even children man up and accept your right to move on.  You don’t owe anyone but yourself.

*It’s ironic because many of these sites are run by remarried widowed, who certainly realize how fraught the widowsphere is with anti-remarried’s prejudice.

** Divorced people are very touchy about the terms “husband” and “wife” because they tend to lean toward the very artificial and legal contract side of what marriage is (they remind me a bit of the “marriage is one man/woman” crowd in their self-interested pov).  As if marriage is nothing more than a piece of paper. Marriage is far more than the words and the paper.  It transcends.  But the remarried widowed find themselves tilting at angry windmills when the whole “death ends a marriage just like divorce” arguments begin and that’s just one of many issues that we share as a group that those who haven’t remarried don’t get either.

It seems my ranting about mammas who rant got me unfriended on Facebook. Between my pruning and my offensive nature, I will soon be left with just family and that is the realm of the truly uncool.

I think I must have slipped in a whole truth or two about family recently because my sister-in-law unfriended me too. Not the lousy one. The other one.

And in other social networking news, I have greatly annoyed an old high school chum who has grown up to be someone who would have made a great next door neighbor for my parents. Passionately to the right on nearly any topic you’d care to name. My feed must be an eyesore to this friend.

I rated a mention over at Ye Ole Widda Board the other day in the old timers quarters. A friend, thank goodness, who confessed to still peeking at my blog in her five year update. The goddess must have been smiling because no one noticed me and I wasn’t ridiculed or barbecued in absentia – though you can be perfectly present and roasted for the titillation of others while the multitude stands by as silent as collaborators. A recent perusal of the main forum there revealed another posse had run someone out-of-town. And good riddance to non-conforming grief too.

Mostly this week I have been memoir writing. A project that is sure to offend in-laws but possibly my own family too. In earlier drafts/attempts I tried to keep my point of view as non-committal as possible on the subject of those I didn’t care for or when I was recounting events where I was simply left to sink or swim, but in its current incarnation, my memoir is not holding back that much. I am not trying to be mean, but honest observation is sometimes painful.

So four chapters and probably closing to the point of having caught 20,000 words.

Yesterday was the chapter on Will’s final hours. It was ouchie to say the least possible. Another two chapters of widowhood, which won’t sting as much because I was mourning myself more than him rather early on in the process and then on to the rediscovery of joy, love and regrouping. Nicer though not always easy times.

Which brings me to something. While catching up with my bloggy friend as she shared what’s been going on in the last year, I noted that there were several other four and five year updates. So I read them too. It shouldn’t have surprised me but a senior widow or two managed to slip a snarky line in here and there because if there is one thing on the Ye Olde Widda Board that just don’t fly – it’s remarried widowed folk who grieve out loud. Maybe it’s jealousy. There are one or two I might comfortably accuse of that, but I think it is more that they just don’t want to know that there isn’t a magic pill that makes it all go away. They give lip service to the idea that grief is lifelong really, but they don’t really want to believe it. The remarrieds are proof that there is no “all better now”. Who wants that knowledge?

Today is a PD day at Dee’s school, so we are out and about having some of that quality time together I read about on the mommy blogs. Library, shopping for a new skating helmet and lunch with Rob.

TGIF, people!

The weekend has flown by once again. Even without a 9 to 5 job, I still lament the relative shortness of the weekend in comparison to the rest of the week. I don’t get as much done of course in terms of my fiction writing but it’s a worthwhile trade-off because I have my husband around. There is much to be said for even the drive-by smooches and snuggles as we go about the domestic routine.

So this weekend’s Friday Night Flick was Steven Soderbergh’s Full Frontal with David Duchovny, Julia Roberts, Catherine Keener, David Hyde-Pierce and that guy who was the photographer on Just Shoot Me

Just a quick aside, has Duchovny ever starred in a motion picture (aside from his neutered alter-ego Mulder) where he didn’t play a sexual deviant of some kind?

Full Frontal is not one of Soderbergh’s recognized triumphs. It’s a film within a film that is ultimately within yet another film. It took a while but I eventually realized that the film within was written using elements of the life of the screenwriter whose life and that of those connected to him are being explored via pseudo-documentary and character interviews. The reviews complained the that film doesn’t go anywhere but it’s really about how life influences art and artists, and about the small worlds we all really live in.

We were better than half-way through the movie when Rob realized he’d seen it before thanks to a plastic sack and David Duchovny’s penis. Which you don’t see. Although you do see the plastic bag and wonder once again what attracts this man to characters like this, but the penis is prominent – I assure you. Even though I missed it the first time and Rob had to “rewind” for me.

But anyway, two hours of life – gone – when we could have had sex instead. But it is not an awful movie (Rob will beg to differ) just one that makes you work hard to figure it out. We in North America are not into thinking while movie watching.

Saturday was organizing. Rob is determined to have a garage sale in two weeks. In admiration of his sorting and purging zeal, I tackled my side of the pigsty office because it would be nice to write at my desk again instead of the dining room table (which is hell on my posture).

I nearly pitched my high school yearbooks but Rob thought they should rest in the basement for a bit until I am sure. 

I am sure I don’t know what to do with them. I haven’t cracked one open in BabyD’s lifetime and since I was too mousy and unpopular to rate much of an inclusion in them aside from a head-shot and the newspaper group photo, I can’t think why I should keep them. It’s full of people I can’t remember or have no fond memories of. And they take up shelf space.

I found Will’s old Sunday bible group bible too. Another space hog that holds no personal value for me, so I am thinking about sending it to his mother. She has been less her nasty self in cards and letters of late, and I have been thinking that it might be safe to cultivate a correspondence type relationship now. She found God after Will died – or so she claims* – and the bible has memories for her.

Now I have a clean desk and a surprisingly small pile of papers to assign to folders. I even have my calendar updated and all pertinent dates marked for the next little while. So why am I still writing at the dining room table?

I also began a rewrite of Kumari because what I am trying to do isn’t clear to readers yet, judging from a new review I received yesterday. I am liking it, so the reviews have been a plus. I wish, though, that the site was more like a message board because single reviews are only so helpful. I really need a give and take forum.

I also ventured over to the widda board and signed on. Something I haven’t done since February. I noticed that I was getting referrals from my profile there – something that has never happened. It made me curious. To my surprise I had a message waiting from a board member who’d found this blog through a google and traced me back there. She wanted to talk about remarriage/recoupling because she thought I might have something valid to say. That I can understand if the only sounding board she’s had is the widda board. There are probably only a handful or better of people there who don’t have an agenda when it comes to this topic and will listen/share their experiences without spouting absolutes. The board is really a singles haven and that is what is pushed – mostly by people who haven’t found a new partner despite their efforts or those too frightened or traumatized to try.

I did find one interesting thing in the short perusal I made of the active topics. Someone who used to jump all over me with both feet about my opinions of moving on and remarriage requested a new forum for remarried widowed – because she got married again recently. Funny how that can swing a person 180, eh?

Although the remarried thought this was a great idea, the other vintage widows nixed it. Remarrieds, in the general opinion of the board, have a duty to grieve for the edification (and probably entertainment) of everyone else. End of discussion.

And finally, Rob and I took great interest in watching the reports on Ike. If Rob hadn’t turned that transfer down last spring, we would have been losing our hurricane virginity this weekend in our new home somewhere in the Houston area. Actually, Rob would have been doing this most likely with me worrying at my folks in Iowa. We are not so attached to stuff (and honestly are well enough off financially that we don’t have to be) to ride out a hurricane. 

I will take a Canadian winter over the balmy, hurricane prone Gulf coast any day.

*And it might be true. She was nastier than she had ever been while spouting religion at me in the aftermath, but I have found that “coming to Jesus” brings out a rather substantial amount of bile and intolerance in some people.